Curtis Peagler

Disciples Blues

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The Modern Jazz Disciples weren't a group for very long; 14 of the 15 masters they recorded for Prestige between 1959 and 1960 are present on this compilation of their only two releases. Praised by Cannonball Adderley and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (the latter who helped get them their record deal), this fine quintet deserved a better fate. Leader Curtis Peagler is a Charlie Parker-influenced alto saxophonist, while the other major soloist, William "Hicky" Kelley, plays the rarely heard normaphone, a sort of valve trombone built shaped somewhat like an alto sax. Both men are strong soloists and also engage in some sensitive interplay on occasion. A snappy take of "After You've Gone" serves as a solid opener, while their arrangement of "My Funny Valentine" initially seems somewhat influenced by Gerry Mulligan's famous chart for his quartet with Chet Baker, but Peagler quickly finds his own sound. Pianist Wiliam "Billy" Brown is prominently featured on Peagler's soulful "Disciples Blues." The only real complaint with this CD is its omission of "Autumn Serenade" (from their second and final LP, Right Down Front), which will no doubt cause serious bop collectors to search extensively for the original album as well.

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